HARARE Sports Club have retained Nsikelelo "Sykes" Sibanda as coach following the departure of Cyprian "Supa" Mandenge who joined bitter rivals Old Hararians at the end of last year. Sports Club were blessed with two of the finest coaches in the country in the form of Sibanda and Mandenge with the pair alternating the duties of taking charge of the domestic rugby giants on an annual basis.
Last year it was Sibanda who was in charge and won the National Rugby League championship after he was appointed just for a season.
In line with rotation sytem, Mandenge was due to take over for the coming season.
However, Mandenge felt that since Sibanda had won the championship there was no need to change the technical team and crossed the great divide to join the Old Boys on a year's contract.
Both Harare Sports Club and Old Hararians are expected to get their preparations for the 2013 season underway today with Mandenge looking forward to enjoying his first day with his new found family.
At Sports Club Sibanda will be assisted by the duo of Blessing "Bhuru" Chiutare and Cheetahs playmaker Daniel Hondo while Shupikai Zingapeta comes in as the team manager.
However, Sports Club chairman Donald "Brasco" Mangenje yesterday said that they would miss Mandenge who has spent the better part of his rugby career at the "Lions Den".
"Needless to say we are definitely going to miss him because we enjoyed working with him at Sports Club and he has left a void that is yet to be filled but it is good for his development.
"It is also good for the development of the game because his move to Old Hararians will make sure that their rivalry between not only us as Sports Club but with the likes of Old Georgians and some Bulawayo teams livens up again.
"Like players, coaches can also move around and change an environment and a good example is that of the formation of Matland Warriors because this also brought a new lease of life to the league.
"There was hardly a strong side from Bulawayo but the Warriors gave a new dimension to the course of the league and that is what makes rugby more enjoyable each passing season," said Mangenje.
Mangenje said the need for a strong and competative league was also one of the reasons they had retained Sibanda as coach of the champions.
The former Sables scrum half added that they are also yet to appoint their second string side's technical team.
"Our job has been made a lot easier and we are just going to stick with the winning team.
"We are yet to name our second string technical team because at the moment there are some issues we have to deliberate on as the Sports Club board and once those areas have been cleared we will proceed to do so."
Mandenge could not get a substantive coaching role at Sports Club and at one stage the club introduced a co-coaching role before going back to the rotational system.
Mangenje reckoned that Mandenge's move to Old Hararians would also come as an advantage to his side as they will have to work hard to prove they are championship material this year.
"Definitely we are going to have more competition in the league this season, we know what Mandenge is capable of achieving because he has been with Sports Club for a long time and he has also won a championship title with Sportivo.
"We do not hold any grudge against him because we know that at the end of the day, rugby is the winner. But all our loyalists, fans and sponsors have to know is that we will be as strong as they can expect us to be.
"But we know Mandenge will always be a Sports Club person, he once left and joined Varsity and came back and now he has joined OH and he is still our club member.
"So he is welcome to use the club house and I will always appreciate him for all the great work he has done for us because some of the top players we have at our club today are because of his exploits," said Mangenje.